Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Riddle Answer - Green TV

Photo by b.frahm on Flickr using Creative Commons.

In a previous post I offered an admittedly no-so-challenging riddle:

What used to come only in black and white and now is green all over?

Lame, I know, but it kept you sitting on the edge of your seat, didn't it? Well, here's the long-awaited answer: green TV.

Last week as I sat down to work on this blog, I was ambushed by greenness in what seemed the most unanticipated of places. I suppose I shouldn't have been too amazed - everyone wants to jump on the bamboo bandwagon these days. But I felt like a kid in a candy store as I witnessed the string of environmental name-dropping in the episode of Bones which aired prime-time on the Fox network on 10/23/07.

While there were a few stock references to "eco-avengers", "granola", and "medicinal marijuana", the familiar terms seemed almost endearing amidst the positively presented green options. It appears that Fox did its homework. (applause!) Over the course of a partial hour (I tuned in late), all of the following environmental topics were raised, many with supporting, and from what I could tell, pretty accurate, facts:
  • Composting
  • CFL lighting
  • Certified organic farming
  • Hazards of pesticides
  • Alternative power (A human-powered bike was used to generate electricity for a blender while making smoothies.)
  • Local growing/eating
  • Energy efficient housing (A reference was made to a 100 square foot house.)
  • Biodiesel fuel
  • Bamboo sunglasses
  • Hemp oil-based products
Unfortunately, a staunch supporter of environmental causes turned out to be the murderer in the episode. (He must not have been a vegan.)

Nevertheless, this type of mass exposure for environmental issues sets my heart aflutter. I can't tell you how excited I am about the week of green TV planned by NBC in it's "Green is Universal" campaign, which begins this Sunday, 11/4/07. (Read what the Chicago Tribune has to say about it here.)

I agree with Ecorazzi's authors in that the greening of TV is just the tip of the proverbial (and now melting) iceberg. However, I believe that bringing green to mainstream is the place to start if we want to reinforce the importance of change in our daily lives. Think about the implications of prime-time TV going green: It means that companies with large sums of money have the support of other companies (advertisers) with large sums of money in giving air-time to these topics. All that money and all those companies have the opportunity to forge change on deeper levels than I can personally. They do so by raising awareness of these issues within their own companies, with their sponsors, and finally in living rooms across the globe. I'd suspect that amounts to a wider audience than this blog could ever hope to generate. Additionally, the more visible green choices become, the less they seem like they're only for the "crunchies" (no offense, Crunchy Chicken).

So while TV is an electric vampire, and an energy hog in general, it remains an effective tool for communicating with the masses. It's about time the big shots decided to wield that power for good.

If you're not a TV person, more power to you! (or less, in fact, as above) If you haven't already, give yours away via the Freecycle Network or craigslist.

For those of us who have a short list of must-see-TV shows (ahem):
  • Keep the TV off (or better yet, unplugged) when not in use.
  • Use the time during commercials to do something productive: exercise (jumping jacks, run in place, crunches, Pilates, or Yoga), pay the bills (online, of course), fold the laundry, hand-wash the dishes...
  • Invite over a bunch of friends to watch your favorite shows. Kind of like car-pooling, but with TV. Don't forget the organic popcorn!
  • Limit the amount of time you spend watching TV each week. Don't let the TV be your boredom-buster default - instead: go for a walk, read a book, meditate, knit a scarf, take a class (vegan cooking or Nonviolent Communication, anyone?), learn a new skill, or start a blog. ;)

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